Friday, 12 August 2022

Let’s Convert the Fiend Folio: Flail Snail, Flind, and Flumph

Two of the monsters in this post, the Flail Snail and the Flumph, are often touted as examples of silly monsters appearing in Dungeons & Dragons. In the case of the Flumph, I have described a potential encounter as fiction, created an illustration, and even immortalized the poor creature in a parody of the H.M.S. Pinafore. A lot of people have considered the Flumph useless, but I hope it is clear that I do not.

The Flail Snail is, simply put, one of the most iconic monsters in the Fiend Folio, something that is unlikely to harm you if you just leave it alone. But its shell is valuable. And, in the end, it sets off a pitiable wailing until you put it out of its misery, probably attracting more danger in the process. All in all, the Flail Snail is almost a metaphor for the average dungeon raid. If you are looking for an adventure where a Flail Snail would fit right in, may I recommend the mollusk-filled Danger in the Deep! I wrote it, but don’t let that put you off.

Now, I love me some gnolls, but I have never had much use for Flinds. Better gnolls with nunchaku? That gnolls all treat as celebrities? I know that martial arts were big as the 70s turned into the 80s, thanks to Bruce Lee, David Carradine, and Chuck Norris. I picture gnolls as lean, hungry, and maniacal, and Flinds really don’t fit that picture for me. However, Brendan LaSalle spoke of them with enthusiasm, calling them tiger-headed men with nunchucks (or something to that effect). People aren’t allowed to let Weird Uncle Brendan down, so I did my best to simplify the mechanics for the poor harried judge, while keeping everything Brendan said he liked. I hope that I did him proud!


Flail Snail

Flail Snail: Init +0; Atk Tentacle +1 melee (1d8); AC 18; HD 4d8 to 6d8; MV 10’; Act 1d20 per Hit Die; SP Tentacles, protected body, immune to fire and poison, magic-affecting shell, wailing, light sensitivity; SV Fort +8; Ref -4; Will -2; AL N.

A flail-snail is a silicon-based mollusk with a colorful 8-foot-diameter shell. It has club-like tentacles which it keeps in constant motion; each Hit Die of the creature represents a single tentacle with its own hit points and Action Die. If a tentacle reaches 0 hit points, it is “dead”, ceases to attack, and its associated Action Die is lost. The snail’s actual body is hidden in its shell, has an AC of 28, and is slain instantly if it is damaged.

The highly-colored shell affords the flail snail partial protection against magic. When a spell is cast that target of directly affects the flail snail, roll 1d10, modified by the caster’s Luck: (1 or less) the spell is reflected back onto the caster, (2-5) the spell suffers a misfire (determine by spell as though a “1” had been rolled, but a misfire is the only consequence, and the spell is not lost), (6-7) the spell does not function at all, but this does not cause it to be lost, or (8 or higher) the spell functions as normal.

If all a flail snail’s tentacles are killed, the creature withdraws its head and the rest of its body into its shell, dying 1d10 rounds later. While dying, it utters loud and pitiful wailing cries which have a 1 in 3 chance per round of attracting a nearby or wandering monster (as determined by the judge).

Flail snails are hypersensitive to bright illumination, and hence is always encountered at night or underground. It is possible to drive a flail snail off with torches and lanterns if it is not otherwise molested.

The shell weighs 250 pounds and retains its magical properties for 1d6 months after the snail’s death. It may be used to power spells selected by the judge (color spray and dispel magic, for instance) during this period without damaging the shell. Some means to preserve a flail snail shell longer may exists, and could be the subject of a quest. A fresh flail snail shell can be sold for as much as 500 gp if a buyer with both the money and inclination can be found.




Flind: Init +1; Atk Club +2 melee (1d4+1) or flind bars +3 melee (1d4+1); AC 15; HD 2d6+4; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP Flind bars (bonus attack plus disarm); SV Fort +2; Ref +2; Will +2; AL C.

Flind Leader: Init +2; Atk Flind bars +5 melee (1d4+2); AC 16; HD 3d6+6; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP Flind bars (bonus attack plus disarm); SV Fort +3; Ref +3; Will +4; AL C.

Flinds are related to the hyena-like gnolls (as opposed to the gnoles, unless the judge rules otherwise); see page 416 of the core rulebook for details. Where gnolls tend to be lean and hungry-looking, flinds are taller, stockier, and stronger – some appear to be more tiger-like than hyena-like, both in build and coloration. Large group of gnolls are sometimes led by one or more flinds.

About 25% of flinds are proficient with, and carry, chain-linked iron bars which they call flind-bars. When using flind-bars, a flind gains an automatic free attack if it hits a victim; if it hits the same target twice in a round, that target must succeed in a DC 15 Reflex save or be disarmed, with the target’s weapon being knocked 1d12+5’ away in a random direction.

(A human warrior might attempt to gain this same proficiency with a quest, although it would probably entail being accepted by, and living with, flinds for several months. A character must have at least a Strength and Agility of 13 or better to master these techniques.)

One in every 15 flinds is a leader, who always uses flind bars.




Flumph: Init +0; Atk Spines +0 melee (1d8 plus acid) or liquid spray +2 ranged (special); AC 20; HD 2d10; MV fly 20’; Act 1d20; SP Infravision 100’, enhanced senses, acid (1d4, Fort DC 10 or additional 1d4 each round for 1d5 rounds), repulsive liquid spray, vulnerable underside; SV Fort +4; Ref +2; Will +5; AL L.

These creatures are 2-foot-diameter pure white discs, looking something like a flying sand dollar with manipulative tentacles and spikes descending from their underbellies. Their eyes are on two long stalks, allowing them to see in all directions. Their infravision and enhanced senses make flumphs hard to surprise (+6 on opposed checks, or -6 penalty to non-opposed checks). They fly by sucking air in through their upper surface and expelling it through their underside, limiting them to rising no more than 10 feet above ground level.

Flumphs have two means of attacking. They can attempt to rise above targets and skewer them with their spines. This injects acid into targets on a successful hit, and is the primary means by which flumphs catch and digest food. A flumph can extend feeding tubes to slurp up creatures slain by its acid.

Flumphs can also squirt a foul-smelling liquid up to 60 feet away. If this hits a target, the target must succeed in a DC 15 Will save or spend the next 2d6 rounds retching, losing all actions and allowing the flumph ample opportunity to escape or attack. Worse, humans and humanoids (including dwarves, elves, and halflings, and also including the target themselves) coming within 30’ of the affected target must succeed in a DC 10 Fort save or be at a -1d penalty to the dice chain to all rolls as long as they are within 30’ of the target. The foul odor attracts non-humanoid predators and monsters (double normal chances) and lasts for 2d8 hours.

Note that only one save is allowed or required to avoid these effects. An unaffected character need not make a new save every time they approach the target; nor can an affected character gain a new save by retreating and the approaching the target again.

The foul odor caused by this repulsive liquid can be ameliorated by bathing in tomato juice, strong alcohol, or by other means at the judge’s discretion. A creature that cannot smell is not affected by this substance, though those around it may be.

The underside of a flumph is especially vulnerable, and a character who readies an attack until it descends (attacking that character, or an adjacent one) need only hit AC 12 to damage a flumph. Warriors and dwarves using Mighty Deeds can target the underbelly – this is against the flumph’s normal AC, but does double damage if the Deed is successful. Finally, a Mighty Deed of 4+ can flip a flumph upside down, rendering it helpless.

Flumphs can speak, and understand, the Lawful alignment tongue, although its vocabulary is severely limited.

Note: Flumphs have an internal organ which, if dried and powdered, creates a toxin that dissipates completely in alcohol, rendering it odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Anyone consuming a dose takes 3d6 damage after 1d10 x 10 minutes pass, and must succeed in a DC 15 Fort save or die. Multiple doses stack, increasing the damage by 1d6 per additional dose and increasing the Fort save DC by +2. 1d6+2 doses can be harvested from a flumph with a successful Handle Poison check. Only on a failure of 5 or more does a character accidently poison themselves; otherwise 1d6 potential doses are ruined.

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